Students at Olympic View Elementary are setting their sights on the future — 50 years into the future, to be exact. They’ve made predictions: “The future will be with robots,” wrote several students.
Some said it would be “pretty,” another said, “dangerous.”
Fifty years from now, the letters with those predictions along with portraits and artifacts will be taken out of the safe on the school’s 100th anniversary.
Life skills teacher Cameron Cornell got the idea for the time capsule after he saw an article written in the Whidbey News-Times on April 18, 1968.
“I think that marking this anniversary is a chance for the Olympic View students, staff, families and alums to come together and acknowledge what makes this place special,” Cornell said.
He also happens to have a unique skill that fits well into the project.
Last week, the teacher stood in a cherry picker above the staff, students and the superintendent. The front half of his body was hidden under a cloth cover as he adjusted his 1944 8×10 Ansco Studio camera.
Before he became a teacher, Cornell worked for museums and galleries in New York. He said that while a normal color photo will eventually fade, his archival prints can last 1,000 years if stored properly.
“What would you put digitized files on that you want someone to see in 50 years?” he asked.
In addition to the group photo, Cornell did portraits of every staff member at Olympic View.
He also made sure the students’ letters to themselves were written on cotton paper, which won’t degrade.
“If these kids remember to come back to the centennial, then they get their letters back,” he said. “It’s just been really fun. It’s fascinating.”
The letters included reminders to their future selves what they are like now: “I do not like spinach,” another said “I am funny, sneaky and awesome.” Many of the students gave themselves advice.
“I want you to make my mom proud,” wrote one student.
“Always always never ever forget your personality.”
Students wrote out their goals, such as being a chef, Olympic athlete, sea spider or president, and many wanted to be YouTubers.
One who wanted to be an NBA athlete reminded himself not to forget his original friends after he befriended Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.
The letters, portraits, things like Pokemon cards and a school T-shirt from the 1980s will be put into a safe and kept in the electrical room at the school.
“No one ever goes in there, so I think it’ll be safe,” said principal Laura Aesoph. She said the combination will be written and placed on top of the safe, “so no one will have to blow it open.”
Aesoph said Cornell plans to come back when the safe is open; he’ll be 92. The students will be in their mid to late 50s. By then, one student wrote he hopes to have landed a back flip.
Another was perhaps a little too realistic about life in his late 50s: “When I grow up I will have a sore back.”
• Cornell encourages any former students or teachers at Olympic View Elementary to email him with memories of the school that he could print and include in the capsule. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org